Fathers Honorat (28 years old), Martin (24) and Sumien (25) were conducting a parish mission in the village of Condoulet. These three young Oblates were full of zeal and enthusiasm, and Eugene was concerned about them burning themselves out.
I insist on you taking at least seven hours of sleep.
They need to get things in perspective and do only what they are capable of doing – without believing themselves indispensable.
Those not able to come to confession one day will come on another and, even if they do not manage to do so, I do not take back my order.
I embrace these dear missionaries, it is hard for me not to go on any of their campaigns. May the good God heap on you his most abundant graces. For my part, I bless you in his name and I love you. Adieu.
Letter to Jean Baptiste Honorat, 22 January 1828, EO VII n291
Eugene’s advice continues to apply to ministry today. One of the temptations of being pastoral workers is to believe that we need to respond to all pastoral problems and needs immediately. We tend to feel indispensable and guilty when we are unable to respond.
“The cemeteries of the world are full of indispensable people.” Charles De Gaulle